35 Fun Things to Do at Home as a Family
Making memories as a family doesn't have to be expensive or require a bunch of planning. Here are 35 fun things you can do at home as a family to bond, laugh, work together and create memories your kids will talk about for years. Come back to this list whenever you're spending the day at home and need fresh ideas.
Start in the Kitchen
- Cooking Contest - Choose different recipes and split the family into groups. Each group makes one of the recipes. Then, as you all enjoy your delicious dishes, you might even talk about the pros and cons of each dish.
- Super Popcorn Night - Why just settle for popcorn, when you can have a super popcorn movie night? Whip up some regular popcorn and then get out all the fixings. Let each person make up the popcorn bowl of their dreams. Use what you have on hand. Leftover candy? Chop it up and put it out as an option. Melt some chocolate for drizzle. For your buttery and salty lovers, get out some melted butter, crushed potato chips and more. See what popcorn creation each member of the family comes up with and enjoy.
- Super Pizza - This one may take a little preparation or grocery shopping. Simply grab some English Muffins or other bread base and then all the fixings. Pizza sauce, olives, selection of protein, vegetables, maybe a white sauce and more. Everyone gets to make their own mini pizzas. Most mini pizzas can bake at 350 for about 10 minutes.
- Super Nachos - Everyone loves nachos. Make your favorite nacho cheese or dairy-free cheese base, a big bag of chips and make a bunch of your favorite toppings. Let everyone make their own perfect plate of nachos before putting on your favorite movie, getting out your favorite board game, or other activity.
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Get Everyone to Participate
- Costume Charades - Dust off all those old Halloween costumes and dress-up clothes and play a game of charades you'll never forget. Write down the names of different characters to create by combining different costumes and let the kids go to town. Sure, it'll make it a bit easier to guess who it is, but the hilarity of the costumes will steal the show.
- Art Night - Most homes have a selection of art supplies you can bust out for a super art night. Either get out all the art supplies you have and cover your table before letting each person pick their own type of art or create different art stations where you can rotate between mediums. Color at one table before moving to another for some finger paint. Channel your inner Picasso and have fun!
- Flashlight Games - There is something about flashlights that make a simple game like Sardines or Hide-and-Seek all the more fun. Pair up littles with older family members to make sure they don't get scared or hurt in the dark.
- Make Movies - Why watch movies when you can make them? Most smartphones have a video function you can use to record your own movies. Ideas could include: re-enacting a favorite scene in a movie, doing a parody of a music video, writing your own plays and then performing them, creating a dance routine or creating a fitness video. Be the star of the show and enjoy watching your videos with some super popcorn.
- Family Puzzle - Dust off a puzzle that will take more than one person and dump it on the biggest table in the house. Let everyone pick away at it in between snacks and other adventures. Try to stay up long enough to finish it.
- Laser Game - You know how in spy movies there's always a scene where they have to avoid the red lasers guarding entry to a room? Take red string or whatever you have and tape them going in all directions down a narrow hallway. Take turns trying to get through the hallway without touching the "lasers." Bonus points for playing the Mission Impossible soundtrack.
- Science Activities - There are so many easy science experiments you can do with simple household items. Look up some fun science experiments you can do with the ingredients you have on hand and have fun. Even with just a touch of baking soda and vinegar, you'll be on your way.
- Homemade Play-doh - You won't believe how easy it is to make homemade Play-doh. Then, get out various stencils, cookie cutters, even little digger toys, and have a super family Play-doh night.
- Video Games - Your favorite video game console probably has a group game, such as a dance game, a tennis game or even a racing game that allows for 2-4 players. Take turns playing each other, keep score of who wins, and have a special prize for everyone after you're finished. Ice cream sundaes anyone?
- Lego Games - Get out all the Legos in your house. Create different types of games, such as everyone builds a different castle or who can build the strongest fortress. Work together to make a huge city or compete to build the same type of structure in groups and see who's is more detailed. Legos are always more fun in groups.
- Red Cup Challenge - Do you have a bag of red Solo cups? Time to bust them out! Work together to build a cup wall using all of the cups before the wall comes down.
- Paper Airplane Fight - If you're not a paper airplane expert, look up some simple tutorials online and practice making the different planes. Take time to make an entire fleet and even decorate them in your fleet colors. Then, position yourselves around a large room and fly them in the direction of your foes. The team whose planes make it the farthest wins!
- Straw Rockets - Just straws and paper fashioned into rockets can entertain the whole family for a long time. Who knew it could be so simple?
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- Paper Football - Create little paper footballs and set yourselves up around an empty dinner table. Take turns launching your paper footballs for endless fun.
- Homemade Bocce Ball - No doubt you've seen the bocce ball courts popping up at parks and dedicated bocce ball places. Create your own! All you need is a long and narrow area somewhere in your house and the balls you'll use for the game. Take turns tossing the balls and seeing who's go farthest. If you have a real set, be careful indoors. Those heavy balls will hurt little toes or damage floors.
- Indoor Golf - Golf is a great sport since you spend a lot of the time hitting the ball short distances. Create an indoor golf course with different areas you are trying to get the balls. Cups make for great goals. Use any size balls that you have and any type of long, stick as the golf club. Take turns playing your indoor golf.
- Sumo Wrestling - You don't need fancy suits — pillows secured around each player works just fine. Clear a large area and make sure the surface you're on is soft. If you don't have carpeting, put down some blankets. Then, pack your clothing with as many pillows as you can and gently bounce into each other. Once someone falls, the real show is watching them try to get back up.
- Family Yoga - There are tons of great "yoga for kids" videos on YouTube. Get in your comfy clothes and do some yoga! It'll get all the wiggles out and help everyone sleep that much better.
Ready, Get Set, Compete!
- Twister - Twister is one of the most fun games for a family. If you don't own the game, you can recreate it easily by coloring colored circles on paper or using other ways to identify the colors and then rolling a dice where you assign numbers to different colors.
- Board Game Extravaganza - Let each member of the family pick one board game. Take turns playing everybody's favorite game! It's amazing to see what you will learn about each other through game playing.
- American Idol - You don't need a karaoke machine to do this — although that helps. Find YouTube lyric videos for songs you want to sing and take turns belting them out for your family. Costumes take it up a notch, and you have to use something for a microphone. Take turns being the judges and playing the different personalities.
- Dance Off - Learn a dance as a family. Pick a video on YouTube and practice it over and over until you get it right. Then, put a camera on a tripod or set it up to record, so you can all watch your hard work!
- Indoor Photoshoot - If you have teenagers who are always stuck to their phones and taking selfies, why not beat them at their own game? Set up funny indoor photoshoots, dress up in different outfits, and take a bunch of pictures. You can recreate different sets, such as a photoshoot at the beach, winter photoshoot and more. Then, laugh while you look at all your best shots. Choose one photo as the winner and award a prize.
- Family Jenga - Whether you have a game of Jenga, or you use something else as the object you stack, playing as a family is sure to be a hit. You can even use those giant foam bricks used as toddler toys to create a super Jenga game that will come crashing down to everyone's delight.
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Create the Full Experience
- Movie Theme Night - Pick a movie and make it your theme! Everyone must try to dress a character, prepare food that is inspired by the movie, and other activities that will bring the movie to life.
- Fort Building - Kids love building forts, but with the help of older and wiser family members, those forts can reach new heights. Literally. Build forts that take up entire rooms or even create a little fort city that connects into different rooms. Then, grab flashlights, lots of snacks and enjoy the fruit of your fort-building labor.
- Treasure Hunt - Choose a treasure (something the kids actually would want to find) and then hide it. Draw a treasure map that will lead them to it but will still take them awhile. Set them off to find it! Bonus points for using flashlights in a dark house. Even more bonus points for little red herrings that will distract them as they go. Then, get ready to have them ask you to do them again and again.
- Indoor Obstacle Course - Use what you have to design an indoor obstacle course and take turns timing each other as you move through it. Help little ones to prevent injuries and make it fun.
- Snowball Fight - Those bags of fake snowballs were one of the top gifts for Christmas last year, so chances are good you have a bag of them somewhere in your house. Now is the time to get them out! Work in teams to build a little fort or fortress and then split the snowballs evenly and try to launch them into your opponent's area.
- Floor Is Lava - In this game, the floor is lava and you don't want to get burned! Try to move around the house by climbing on things and never touching the floor. One person can act as the lava monster and try to scare people into falling. If someone does, they become the lava monster and the other person gets to climb.
- Living Room Campout - Why sleep in your own rooms when you can have a campout in your living room? Grab all your blankets and pillows. Layer up the blankets to create a soft place to sleep and then pile on the pillows to create your own little space. There's room for everyone to pile in, put on your favorite family movie and eat some snacks.
Are you feeling inspired? Grab one of these ideas, make it your own, and go make some memories with your kids! After all, the days may feel long, but the years are short. Hopefully, this list has you excited to enjoy time at home as a family in a brand-new way.
Erica Jabali is a freelance writer and blogs over at ispyfabulous.com.